In the world of politics, the powerful are never far away from controversies and scandals. For former Senator Al Franken, his could best be described as one more elite to fall from glory for past actions that have come back to haunt him. The news of his past sexual misconducts became a media frenzy when it broke. For a man who had built an almost flawless career on TV and in politics, the court of public opinion had their say and he was found guilty.
The former writer, SNL performer, and radio show host resigned as senator disgracefully, in January 2018.
Al Franken’s Political Career In View
The political career of the New York city-born Franken began in the early 1980s when he became widely known for his liberal political activism which he took to greater heights in the late 2000s by running for the United States Senate from Minnesota in 2008 as a Democrat. He won the election and was sworn in as a Senator on July 7, 2009. 5 years later, he was re-elected for a second term having defeated his rival, Republican Mike McFadden with 53.2% of the vote.
While in office, Al Franken played very active, visible, and outspoken roles in many areas. Franken supported a number of prominent bills such as the single-payer system under the health care reform. He helped initiate bills like the Service Dogs for Veterans Act which passed the Senate unanimously and birthed a program with the United States Department of Veteran Affairs to pair disabled veterans with service dogs.
When his party sought fundraising in 2015/2016, his political action committee single-handedly raised $8.3 million in donations. Franken also lent his voice to condemn the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and in July 2017, he voted in favour of more sanctions to be placed on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
Asides politics, Franken was a performer and staff writer on the comedy TV show Saturday Night Life for 15 years. His role in the widely watched television series earned him seven Emmy nominations and three awards for TV writing.
From 2004 to 2007, Franken hosted The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio. He has also authored four New York Times bestsellers and has appeared in the movies All You Need Is Cash and Trading Places.
Al Franken’s Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
Al Franken’s political career, however, nosedived from November of 2017 when allegations of inappropriate behavior and conduct were leveled against him; first by Leeann Tweeden, a former model and now conservative radio personality, who accused him of forcibly kissing her in 2006 while they were both on a tour to perform for the US troops in the Middle East. Seven other women later followed suit with similar accounts. Tweeden’s story has been collaborated by a now-infamous photo of her asleep in a body armor aboard a military aircraft with Franken appearing to put his hands over her breasts.
Despite apologizing to his accusers, Franken became one of the top personalities involve in the hotly debated situations of the #MeToo era. Consequently, he was pressured by two dozen fellow Democratic senators led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to resign. Al Franken resigned soon after on January 2, 2018, without appearing before the Senate ethics committee to plead his case.
Former Senator, Al Franken has two children with his wife of over four decades, Franny Bryson. The couple got married in 1975 and they also have several adorable grandchildren.
Who Replaced Him At The Senate?
Christine Elizabeth ‘Tina’ Smith, a former businesswoman and Democrat, was appointed to fill Franken’s seat at the Senate. She then won the special senate election of 2018 which allowed her to complete the remainder of his term. She is a former Lieutenant governor of Minnesota and has been in politics since 1990.
What Is Al Franken Doing Now?
Talk has been rife that the former Senator, having regretted resigning so quickly, is thinking of making a comeback. When and how he plans to make his return a reality is not known yet but as one of the first top-ranking personalities hit by the #MeToo movement, Franken maintains he is innocent and that he wasn’t given a chance to an ethics hearing. Many of his fellow Democrats agree and regret pressuring him to resign so early. His fans and supporters, who also believe that his ousting was more political than moral, want him back in the political arena. Unfortunately, the allegations of the former Minnesota senator cannot be swept under the carpet.
In the meantime, Al Franken has gone back on the air, covering health matters, politics and global affairs. Also a blogger, the former senator has a youtube channel which he recently launched.